Bobcat boys capture first place in N.M. 

Ignacio cross-country team wins first team title since its 202 rebirth in Espanola, (N.M) Valley's 2023 Del Valdez Memorial invitational, Friday, Sept. 1.
courtesy Karri McCarter | IHS Cross-Country

IHS beats heat, competition in Española 

The Ignacio boys’ reward for earning the program’s first team title since its 2020 rebirth? Practice on Labor Day.  

Why? The boss wants to keep the train rolling, as it were. 

Comprised mainly of New Mexico schools, the boys’ race Friday, Sept. 1, at Española (N.M.) Valley’s 2023 Del Valdez Memorial Invitational went to the Bobcats on the strength of having the individual runner-up (freshman Cayson Burcham), plus having their top four all placing inside the top 15. 

Burcham clocked a hand-timed 19:18.74, and finished behind only Taos, N.M., freshman Billy Romero (reported time 18:49), who’d placed 25th at the NMAA Class 4A State Championships last fall as an eighth grader, and who won his first meet as a true high-schooler in the previously untested Tigers’ 2023 debut. 

For IHS, senior Phillip Quintana took tenth place, classmate Corey Gomez wasn’t far back in 12th and sophomore James Martin not much farther – giving Ignacio a solid score-4 core with times head coach Karri McCarter reported as “tight 21s.” 

Freshman Judah Ashley also cracked the top 20 – marked by Ojo Caliente (N.M.) Mesa Vista freshman Ezequiel Nevarez, 20th in 22:04 – by placing 18th, while sophomore Dillon Brann and freshman Thunder Windy Boy were slower to finish due to fatigue and illness symptoms brought on by heat approaching 95 degrees. 

Sophomore Alyssa Atencio was the only Lady ’Cat to compete, and though not finishing near the front, she was said to have run well throughout the high-school girls’ three laps on the sandy track behind EVHS. 

“She took on the heat and deep sand and had her strongest finish of the season,” McCarter stated. 

“The course was a one-mile loop, repeated three times,” she continued. “The whole team reported that this was the toughest course they have run on!” 

Española Valley junior Hailey Renteria, 15th at last year’s Class 4A State Championships, won in just over 22 minutes. 

As of press time, officially verified times from the meet had not been reported. 

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